British great Herol Graham – widely recognized as one of the finest fighters of recent years never to have won a world title – is currently in hospital, battling complications that arose from a burst appendix, so reports The Sheffield Star. The former British, Commonwealth and European king who retired with a 48-6(28) record in 1998 – after a stoppage loss to Charles Brewer in what was the ludicrously talented southpaw’s third crack at world glory – has been given a boost by way of hospital visits from the likes of Frank Bruno, Colin McMillan and other British boxing stars.
Reportedly, Graham, now aged 56, suffered the complications two weeks or so ago and is now being treated in a hospital in Sheffield. Needless to say, we all wish Herol a speedy recovery. It really was a joy watching Herol’s majestic skills back in the 1980s and ‘90s. Untouchable at everything apart from world level – and here too, Graham showed he belonged with the very best, pushing the superb Mike McCallum, then at his peak, all the way to a desperately close split decision for the vacant WBA middleweight title in 1989 – “Bomber” made good fighters look foolish in their inability to lay a glove on him.
Turning pro in 1978, Graham won his first 38 fights before losing on points to Italy’s classy Sumbu Kalambay in 1987. Graham, who campaigned at both light-middleweight and middleweight, regrouped and launched world title challenges against McCallum, Julian Jackson (suffering a brutal one-punch KO after he had ran rings around a badly busted up Jackson; Graham again having next to no support from Lady Luck!) and Brewer (who also stopped him, in the 10th, but only after suffering two knockdowns himself).
Graham has lived a life far from the spotlight since his retirement, not picking up a job as a pundit or commentator. This is a shame, as Graham, a real student of the game who is both articulate and easygoing, would be a natural in front of the cameras. The famed Brendan Ingle, who coached Graham during his heyday, has joined the vast number of well-wishers who have sent Herol their best regards and hopes for a full return to health.